Freshman Teddy Prochazka has found a new way to get on the field the past two weeks. He’s getting work as a jumbo tight end.
The 6-foot-9, 310-pound tight end was at that spot for a short touchdown run against Buffalo on Sept. 11 and then for five snaps against Oklahoma on Saturday. He lined up on both the right side and the left side, donning the No. 46 jersey rather than his normal 65.
“Hopefully we can get him out of 46. He looked kind of goofy in that number,” coach Scott Frost joked Monday.
For Prochazka, though, the tight end work has multiple benefits. For one: He’s on the field. In the mix against teams like the Sooners.
Also, he’s getting at least a little bit of experience playing on the right side. He’s played exclusively left tackle in practice and also dating back to his high school days at Elkhorn South, but you never know when the experience working the other direction might pay off.
“It was nothing new or crazy. The adjustment, honestly, was just moving from left side to right side and just flipping my feet and making sure the footwork was good on both sides,” Prochazka said.
Really, then, there’s only one thing the affable freshman seems to be missing.
“I was really more concerned about when I was going to get the passing concepts,” Prochazka said with a smile. “They never slid those across my desk.”
He’s ready, though, if it happens.
“We do 'Fast Friday’ (practices), and (Greg Austin and Frank Verducci) will throw balls to the linemen and we catch them,” Prochazka said. “That’s my tryout tape, personally. If anybody’s watching, let them know that I have good hands.”
Held’s birds-eye view: The biggest shuffle Nebraska’s coaching staff made to its gameday operation this year is that running backs coach Ryan Held now sits high above the field in the coaching box and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco is down on the sideline.
Verduzco and quarterback Adrian Martinez have both said they like the change, and it turns out Held does, too.
It’s the first time he’s coached from that vantage point in the six seasons he’s coached with Frost since arriving at UCF in 2016.
"It’s just a matter of, when you’re up in the box, trying to get as much intel as you can on what the other team is doing during the play and between series,” he said. (Offensive coordinator Matt) Lubick is up there and does a great job and other coaches. It was a change (Frost) felt like needed to be made, and I said I’d do whatever necessary to help the team.
“I’m getting better each week because I haven’t been up there in a while, but I like being up there, to be honest with you. I’ll do whatever Coach wants me to do to help us win.”
A "Thorne" in NU’s side: A lot of the attention regarding Michigan State’s offense this week will be about star running back Kenneth Walker III. The Spartans, though, are getting high-quality play from quarterback Payton Thorne over their first three games, too.
Thorne is third in the Big Ten in yards per attempt at 9.4 and he has yet to turn the ball over.
“The one thing I look right away is how many touchdowns, how many interceptions? He’s got nine and zero. So he’s efficient with the football,” Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said Tuesday. “The other thing about him is, he doesn’t make mistakes with the football. He’d rather take a sack or throw it away, which is, he’s a good decision maker.
“The other thing is you look at him play and you think, 'Nah, he’s not that fast.' Then he pulls one down or he keeps one off a run. He’s not a huge (with) quarterback run game, but when he does keep one, you’re like, 'Oh, (shoot), he can roll a little bit.' I have a lot of respect for him and what they do with him in their system.”
— Parker Gabriel
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